Newly released documents have revived questions about Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) marriage history and whether she married a man, who may have been her brother, to get around immigration laws.
The documents also reveal how Omar's campaign worked to keep the story of her marriage to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi out of the press, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports. The Star Tribune found little information about Elmi in public records and could neither confirm nor rebut the claim that he is Omar's brother.
A spokesman for Omar issued a statement on Friday calling probes into her personal life illegitimate.
"Since before she was elected to office, Ilhan has been the subject of conspiracy theories and false accusations about her personal life. Emboldened by a president who openly treats immigrants, refugees and Muslims as invaders, these attacks often stem from the presumption that Ilhan — like others who share those identities — is somehow illegitimate or not fully American," Jeremy Slevin said.
"Ilhan has shared more than most public officials ever do about the details of her personal life — even when it is personally painful," he continued. "Whether by colluding with right-wing outlets to go after Muslim elected officials or hounding family members, legitimate media outlets have a responsibility not to fan the flames of hate. Continuing to do so is not only demeaning to Ilhan, but to her entire family."
Omar did not make her tax or immigration records available for the report. The newspaper recounted what is known about her marriage history:
What is known is that Omar, at the age of 19, sought a legal marriage license with [Ahmed] Hirsi in Minnesota. Though they had three children together, they would not legally marry until January, 2018, after she had been in the Minnesota Legislature for a year and had dissolved the marriage in 2017 with Elmi.
After reaching what Omar called "an impasse in our life together," she and Hirsi split for a period in 2008. They had two children at the time.
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In February 2009, public records show that Omar legally married Elmi, who she has identified as a "British citizen."
The relationship was brief. Omar said it ended in 2011, when she reconciled with Hirsi.
She gave birth to their third child the following June. She identified Hirsi as the father.
While Omar said she and Elmi had divorced in 2011 "in our faith tradition," they would not legally divorce until December, 2017 — a month before she got legally married to Hirsi.
Omar's relatives have not clarified the nature of her marriage to Elmi, and she refused to make her family available for the Star Tribune‘s report. Her campaign provided the first names of six siblings in 2016 but did not include Elmi.
Earlier this month, Omar agreed to repay thousands of dollars after the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board found she filed tax returns claiming she was married to one man when she was married to another.